Grandparents fight off leopard, snatch toddler from its jaws | India News

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BHOPAL: A couple in Madhya Pradesh fought off a leopard to save their two-year-old granddaughter in a village close to Kuno National Park on Thursday night, literally pulling the baby from its jaws.
The leopard had sneaked into the backyard of their house where they were sleeping on the floor. Around midnight, 50-year-old Basanti Bai Gurjar woke up to the wails of Bobby, who was sleeping by her side. She was horrified to see the toddler’s right foot in the jaws of a leopard, which was dragging her away.
In reflex, she kicked the leopard even before an involuntary scream escaped her throat. And went on kicking. The leopard wouldn’t let go.
Basanti’s husband, 55-year-old Jai Singh Gurjar, woke up to the screams of his wife and grandchild and the growling of the leopard. “I kicked it with all my strength,” he said.
The couple grabbed Bobby and tried pulling her out of the leopard’s mouth, while kicking the animal in the nose and eyes.
The big cat let go of the toddler but turned on the couple, biting and slashing them. Both Basanti and Jai Singh were injured in their legs, but kept fighting the leopard till neighbours came running, armed with sticks. The leopard scampered back into the forest.
The village, Dhura in Karhal block, is barely 8km from Kuno National Park, which is the proposed site for the cheetah translocation project. When people living in the vicinity of the park heard that they would have cheetahs for neighbours, they began objecting, fearing that they would attack humans, like leopards do. Forest officials spent weeks convincing them that there is no danger of that happening, and there is no record of any cheetah attacking a human in Africa.
The Gurjars and Bobby are shaken by the ordeal but recovering after first-aid. “We have lived here for a long time, and this is the first time a leopard attacked us,” they told local mediapersons.
Kuno divisional forest officer P K Verma said, “Security has been strengthened in the area after the incident. We will ensure the injured get proper medical care.”

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